Monday, August 5, 2013

We can't talk about the reality of American politics on TV because David Gregory's kids might have dick-pic nightmares

Not worried about his kids hearing questions about
whether the president is legitimate, but super concerned
about dick picks
The August 4, 2013 episode of Meet the Press was pretty uneventful all things considered. To me, the most interesting thing said was a question by host David Gregory, who asked former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani - himself a sex scandal survivor - "is there something disqualifying at a point when I can't even turn on the news, that that's going to create a bigger conversation than I want to have with my eight year old?"

Giuliani, in typical MTP form, dodged the question. For once though, I agree that a politician should dodge the question. It's a stupid question. David Gregory, host of the longest running news show on television, just asked if a politician should be disqualified from office for private indiscretions because he was afraid his kid would see David Gregory, who chooses to give coverage to this local non-story coverage, talking about it. 

Mr. Gregory, let me give you a quick rundown on American politics, the media, and children, since a life in Washington and being a father has apparently taught you nothing about them. 

Exhibit A. 
1. American politicians frequently do things with their penises that their wives would not approve of. Joy-Ann Reed had JUST EXPLAINED THAT to you. The only difference between the sex scandals of Anthony Weiner and Bill Clinton and those of John F. Kennedy and Franklin Roosevelt is that in the past the press had the common decency to leave public figures' personal lives alone, and now people like you circle it like carrion birds. 

2. Your eight year old knows about sex. He's probably heard you having it. He's seen it on TV and read more detailed explanations of it in issues of Spider-man. At the very least, he goes to school with someone whose parents aren't as afraid of talking to them as you are and he now knows a way more vulgar and detailed version of sex than any news show has presented. 

3. Your concern with how these scandals might lead you to have an uncomfortable conversation with your kid leads me to a statement made my comedian Louis CK about gay marriage: "'How am I supposed to explain to my children that two men are getting married?' I don't know. It's your shitty kid, you fucking tell'm... Two guys are in love and they can't get married because you don't want to talk to your ugly child for five fucking minutes?" 

I understand this isn't an exact parallel and that being gay is not the same as deviating from your marriage on company time, but the point remains valid. If we have decided that the sex lives of politicians are news (which David Gregory has), why can't we talk about it just because somebody doesn't want to have to explain a real world situation to his kids? If David Gregory is so concerned with the moral fortitude of political candidates, he should not vote for those candidates. If he is concerned about how their sex lives might scar children, he should make an effort to stop talking about it so much on his very frequently watched show.

4. I've been eight years old. No eight year old is intently watching Meet the Press. It's what my parents used to put on when I was being bitchy about nap time. I conked right out. Further, if they are watching the news, there is way worse stuff on it than discussions about Mr. Weiner's self-titled selfie. I don't know if you've heard, but Northern Africa and the Middle East have been in a perpetual state of war for a while and maimed children have been making pretty regular appearances on TV. Football players have murdered people. Baseball players are being suspended for drug use. A huge child prostitution ring was just broken up in America. Boy Meets World is getting a spin-off. All of these things are more important and will have a bigger impact on your children than the sex scandals of municipal politicians.

It is astounding to me how much the media talks about how terrible all these non-stories are while putting past political figures who did the same things but who weren't persecuted by the same media. Anthony Weiner might not be a particularly good or effective politician. He may not have a very good platform in is run for mayor. If he's not the right guy for the job, it will be easy enough to prove that without talking about his phone sex habits. If you find yourself forced to bring it up though, you might have to explain to your kids that when a man and a woman love each other very much, they send each other digital representations of their affections in the form of lecherous sexy-texties that sometimes give birth to a scandal. If you have to have that conversation because you talked about it yourself on a show you let your kids watch, it's your own damn fault.

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